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Joyful Sabbaths
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As one who didn’t know about the joy of the Sabbath day as I grew up, it was important for me as a mother to see that my children enjoyed Sabbath. My husband knew about Sabbath as a child but there was no celebration, it was all rules and regulations. He remembers sitting for too-long Sabbath hours listening to his mother read from “church books” that he didn’t understand. We determined this was not the “happy” Sabbath-keeping we wanted for our own children.

Our adult son recently made a trip back to where he grew up in Akron, Ohio. As he told us about his trip down memory lane, it pleased us that he spoke affectionately about a place we often went on Sabbath afternoons: Firestone Metropolitan Park. This place provided us city dwellers an oasis from city life—on an oasis in our busy week, the Sabbath.

Most of the time we invited our children’s friends to come along, or another family or two, or strangers who were visiting church, as we enjoyed God’s second Bible—nature.


During late spring, throughout summer and into early fall, we often enjoyed Sabbath picnic meals at this park. Sitting on the mossy grass or on lawn chairs that we carried along in the car trunk, eating special food that was especially prepared for Sabbath (the kids loved those date-nut, cream-cheese sandwiches) filled more than our bellies.

After eating, we lingered to read from our Bibles and other good Christian materials. This fortified our belief that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were a part of our lives. The kids and even my mother, who also became a Sabbath-keeper, had a favorite Christian read: the Junior Guide magazine. The time together with friends and family bonded us to each other and the Lord. This park and other nature areas provided many joyful times.

Our son told us that he was delighted that the same old trails that he, his sister and their friends trekked were still in use. In fact, he said he’d like to move back to Ohio. Why? In large part, because memories remain of a much loved family Sabbath tradition.

The children’s hymn-song, “Happy, happy family with Jesus in the home” might also be sung “Happy, happy family with Jesus in the park” and hold just as much meaning. Being in nature and sharing God’s Word became a wonderful Sabbath tradition for our family which still brings back such sweet memories.

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By Betty Kossick. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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